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Snow buries Oro Fino Gulch homeless camp as residents vacate the area

Homeless Camp.jpg
Posted at 4:51 PM, Oct 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-26 11:46:26-04

HELENA — On Wednesday, a homeless camp off of Oro Fino Gulch, faced a 2 p.m. deadline to clear the area. The majority of residents cleared the area Tuesday but snow had buried the camp Tuesday night with tents and other items still present Wednesday under deep snow.

“Paul did come here today and spoke with us. He knows today is the deadline and they were working pretty feverishly yesterday of leaving. He said everyone but 11 people had left the camp area,” said Lewis and Clark County Undersheriff Brent Colbert.

The camp was started by Paul "Rad" Montee this past summer, as a drug-free, safe place for people to live until they could find more permanent housing.

The camp is currently located on private land. After a written complaint was filed with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, they were given about a week and a half to vacate the area.

“The residents that are living up there are experiencing some unsettling circumstances. Finding alcohol, finding people wandering in their yards, and are quite uncomfortable. So, they have been contacting us for those reasons,” said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.

By the 2 p.m. deadline, all people had to be out of the camp.

“If they don’t move, we will issue citations and then we will take them to jail. This is a trespass,” Dutton said.

When MTN stopped by around 2, all the people had left.

“Although their equipment may have to stay till a nicer day to go back and pick up the equipment and that would be it, and he agreed to that and that’s still the plan for today,” Colbert said.

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Community service providers have been connecting residents in the camp with resources and signing them up for housing lists, but the waiting lists can be long.

For the time being, God’s Love has offered to house the residents.

“Paul reporting this morning is that God’s Love has taken them in and given them shelter,” said Dutton.